Big Island Student Film Semi-Finalist at the International Festival

November 23, 2021, 12:00 p.m. HST
* Updated November 23, 11:44 a.m.

Konawaena High School High School Jade Onaka’s documentary short was named a semi-finalist at the Zensa Media International Film Festival.

Onaka from Kona will present her film “Ohana and ‘Āina: Connecting Family, Farming, and Freedom” in the food related category on November 25 in Montreal.

“I am grateful for the opportunity and hope the message will have an impact on the life and consciousness of a viewer,” said Onaka. “It was a rewarding process; being able to share something as simple as food was something beautiful that a lot of people can use.

The documentary explores the history of the Onaka family to learn more about the farming practices that have supported Hawaiians for generations. The film was co-created by Onaka and One Day Studio, a Teach For America affiliate program that produces multimedia stories about equity in education.

The one-year partnership began when Onaka, as a member of the Teach For America Hawai’i Youth Council, participated in a virtual panel hosted in November 2020 by TFA on the impact of COVID-19 on Indigenous communities and education.


“The idea for this video was sparked by a comment Jade made during a speech at a panel at the event,” said Joel Serin-Christ, studio production manager at One Day. Studio. “I don’t think any of us thought it would turn out to be something as rich and beautiful as this movie. I’m so proud of all the hard work Jade put into this. When I watch this movie, I see Jade. I think that’s the best part for me.


The Zensa Media International Film Festival is in its fourth edition. The best films in certain categories will win a prize. The Onaka movie will also be screened locally on December 13 at the upcoming Teach For America Hawai’i Holiday Party. The film can also be viewed anytime online by clicking here.

Founded in 2006, Teach For America Hawaiʻi works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunities for children. For more information, visit and follow TFA on Facebook and Twitter.

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Darcy J. Skinner